Ambitious & Moody: WE ARE LIVING THINGS Review | Slamdance 2022

Courtesy of Slamdance Film Festival

Directed by Antonio Tibaldi, We Are Living Things follows two undocumented immigrants in the United States who have a shared UFO abduction experience. Jorge Antonio Guerrero, who viewers might recognize from Roma, stars as Solomon, a Mexican immigrant who is passionate about these extraterrestrial experiences because he believes his mother was taken by one. He meets Chuyao (Xingchen Lyu) when he is called to fix her bathroom. While in her apartment, he discovers that she is equally as intense about these alien theories. Chuyao works at a nail salon and is a prostitute, she was human trafficked out of China. When she was a teen, Chuyao had a close encounter with what she believes was an alien, and the event has affected her into adulthood.


Later, Solomon reveals a terrible secret that her pimp had been hiding from Chuyao and the two bond over the horror that they witness. The two are loners, neither having much friends or social life outside of their work. In the last act of the film, they embark on a road trip to the Arizona desert in order to get to the bottom of their extraterrestrial experiences. Things get a little strange and tense when the pair meet up with a woman that Solomon knows who might have the answers they search. Instead, they find false hope and a racist man. 


The last part of the film is special – focusing on the relationship between Solomon and Chuyao in a more intimate and personal way than before.  It almost feels as if the road trip should have been the start of the film and everything that followed expanded through the rest of the narrative.   

Ambitious and moody, We Are Living Things attempts to tackle many different social issues but stays a little too vague in it’s execution.All in all, We Are Living Things is a solid effort that could have benefited more from a tighter script, a more concise focus on the relationship between its protagonists, and a great expansion on some of the cool science fiction ideas it introduced.

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